US elections: local reaction

Georges Schmit: "Overall, the American electorate appears to have privileged the economy and their personal wealth over political and ethical values" Matic Zorman (archives)

Georges Schmit: "Overall, the American electorate appears to have privileged the economy and their personal wealth over political and ethical values" Matic Zorman (archives)

Luxembourg based representatives and commentators have shared their thoughts with Delano on what has happened so far in the 2020 US presidential election.

James O’Neal, Republicans Overseas Luxembourg Chair

We currently do not know which candidate will be victorious and we hope that the electoral process will be completed with integrity according to the Constitution.  However, we definitely know for sure two things.  First, that once again the mainstream media and polls of the establishment were totally wrong…again by the way. Second, in many states including Florida and Texas the vote from both African-Americans and Latinos went up dramatically in favour of Trump and were essential to his victory in these states. 

James O'Neal Photo: Jan Hanrion 

Will Bakker, Regional Vice Chair, EMEA, Democrats Abroad

The US elections are over when every vote has been counted and the results are certified. Most states continue to accept ballots from Americans in Luxembourg and all over the world, and it does no credit to American democracy to treat those votes as irrelevant. The state election authorities are respecting our votes and doing their job carefully and cautiously.

By contrast, Trump's declarations are irresponsible and un-American--and just plain false. His tantrum is not a surprise after the past four years, but all responsible journalists and political leaders must refute and condemn it, rather than repeat it. Trump's tweets about counting votes have no legitimacy.

I spent most of last night talking with fellow members of Democrats Abroad in a global chat room--a kind of virtual election-watch party. I'll spend most of today doing the same. We're confident in our candidates and eagerly watching as our votes are counted and results come in.

I'm enormously proud of Democrats Abroad. Under difficult conditions, we adapted and helped more Americans abroad vote than ever before. Our all-volunteer organization swelled by thousands of active Americans all over the world who made calls, staffed our online help desk, and protected the right to vote. We're already helping to solve issues this election and find improvements so more Americans living abroad can vote.

Paul Schonenberg, Chairman and CEO, Amcham

Instead of rejecting President Trump and his Republican allies as expected by the polls, US electors largely voted as they had in 2016 when Mr Tump was first elected President. The results are a very close Presidential election outcome, a Senate remaining under Republican control and a Democratic party controlled House of Representatives  where the Dems have a reduced majority.   

First analysis of the outcome indicates that Trump and the Republicans won a majority of white male voters while tripling their support among black and Hispanic voters. Voters indicated they had more faith in Trump to relaunch the economy and bring them back to prosperity then they had faith in Vice President Biden. Vote counting continues and the final results will not be known for several more days, with legal challenges likely.

I just hope in the end that somehow we can all come together as a family (even if it is a dysfunctional family!) and find peace with common ground so we can unite and move forward together!

Paul Schonenberg Photo: Matic Zorman

Dr Thomas Gitzel, chief economist, VP Bank Group

So far, there have been no major surprises in the states. The results so far correspond to the specifications of the opinion research institutes. However, many things are still unclear, while some things are quite certain. 

Those who focused too much on the national polls in recent weeks were disappointed tonight. The challenger Joe Biden is not going to make a breakthrough. The race is still open.

In North Carolina, for example, a close result is expected. The decisive factor there will be the postal ballot results, which will be counted after election day. In Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, the final result may not be known for several days. These states are among the decisive swing states. 

The outcome of the US elections will therefore be a long time coming. It is already clear that we are facing a hanging game. If Biden were to win by a narrow margin in the end, the possibility of Republican appeals cannot be ruled out. The financial markets will probably have to be patient before the result is known.

Amanda Surbey, long-time expat, Florida voter

I am baffled and horrified that this election is so close. I can understand voters in 2016 thinking, “Why not try something different?” But now we have all had 4 years to see who he is—and he’s clearly not interested in leading, but merely building a brand and lining his pockets. Someday he will be gone. But those people--my neighbours, family, colleagues in the US--who voted for him will remain. The country today is not the country I grew up in. No matter who wins, it’s become a place I no longer know.

Amanda Surbey Photo: Surbey 

Eleanor Surbey, Amada’s daughter

I'd be very (albeit pleasantly) surprised to see Biden take this election, especially after losing Florida and Ohio, but who's to say! I was happy to see AOC, Ilhan Omar, Ayana Pressley, and Rashida Tlaib keep their seats--I didn't think they'd lose them, but it's still a relief. Fingers crossed for the mail-in and absentee ballots!

Manuel Maleki, economist at Edmond de Rothschild

Manuel Maleki Photo: Edmond de Rothschild

The longer the uncertainty about the name of the new President lasts, the greater the impact on the economy. The uncertainty we face today looks like the one observed during the 2000 presidential election between Republican George W. Bush and Democrat Al Gore. The uncertainty lasted 36 days until 12 December, when George Bush was declared the official winner.

Situations of uncertainty, when they last, are generally detrimental to economic growth since they push agents to be extremely cautious. This translates for households into more savings, less consumption, a postponement of major purchases and very often a drop in morale. For companies, the postponement of hiring and investment is a classic behaviour and can even be accompanied by a reduction in jobs, since uncertainty often has an impact on order books.

It appears that a fundamental element will therefore be the duration of the uncertainty, the longer it lasts, the greater the nervousness of investors should be. Moreover, the economic impact could be all the more important the longer it takes to clarify the situation.

Georges Schmit, former consul general and director Luxembourg Trade and Investment Office, San Francisco

At this stage of the vote count (4 am EST Nov 4), the likelihood that the United States will become a more divided, violent, isolationist, and unpredictable nation has significantly increased!

Overall, the American electorate appears to have privileged the economy and their personal wealth over political and ethical values!”

Josip Glaurdic, political sciences professor at the University of Luxembourg

If Trump pulls this off, we’re going to see his second term be the first term on steroids. There’s no question about it. The way it looks now, it’s almost certain that the Republicans are going to keep control in the Senate. If Biden wins, what can he do with the Senate in Republican hands? We’d be more likely to see a return to some normalcy, but we shouldn’t expect massive changes in America’s foreign policy. We shouldn’t make the mistake of projecting our hopes and dreams of the US onto an unwilling and unable America.

There’s no show like American politics. That’s always been the case but particularly during the Trump presidency. There’s this whole concept of the electoral college, having to win certain states, that you can win without the popular vote. There’s this gameshow quality to it. And he’s been such a polarising figure. For many people in Europe it’s inconceivable that he would have been elected once, let alone twice. We are projecting things from our perspective onto the US and we find the US wanting, failing somehow in our eyes. America is what it is. Trump is not an aberration. He’s a natural product of what America is and has been.

Biden is and was a flawed candidate. He’s very old. He’s been a politician for half a century. That doesn’t necessarily win you votes in the US. The reason why Trump is so fascinating is because he has given a voice to the people that generally feel that they didn’t really have a voice. The army of relatively poor, poorly educated, generally white voters who feel threatened by the changes that are happening in the US--demographic changes, labour changes, automation, immigration. He’s channelled that into a platform. One of the biggest predicters of whether heartland voters support Trump is whether they watched The Apprentice or not. They’ve built up this image of Trump being competent, powerful and rich. It’s an appeal.